Definition of qualitative in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkwäləˌtādiv/


1Relating to, measuring, or measured by the quality of something rather than its quantity: a qualitative change in the undergraduate curriculum Often contrasted with quantitative.
More example sentences
  • Yet this is in many ways a quantitative rather than a qualitative distinction.
  • Such a sense is qualitative rather than quantitative, specific rather than general.
  • One way forward is to use qualitative measures of protection, a proposal that has been made previously.
1.1 Grammar (Of an adjective) describing the quality of something in size, appearance, value, etc. Such adjectives can be submodified by words such as very and have comparative and superlative forms. Contrasted with classifying.
Example sentences
  • The first drawback of using a handful of qualitative descriptive adjectives instead of numbers is that we are limited to just that, a handful, perhaps 5 or so, before it becomes hard to manage..
  • Only qualitative adjectives may be compared because only this type of adjective refers to qualities of objects which may vary in degrees.
  • In this connection, the ability of an adjective to form degrees of comparison is usually taken as a formal sign of its qualitative character, in opposition to a relative adjective which is understood as incapable of forming degrees of comparison by definition.


Late Middle English: from late Latin qualitativus, from Latin qualitas (see quality).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: qual·i·ta·tive

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